Facebook has found a new way to sell member information with its Sponsored Stories advertising program, announced yesterday. The information in question isn’t privacy-laden personal data – it’s your public expressions about a product or brand, whether that’s a post on a company's Facebook Page, liking a Page, or checking in at a location. In addition to showing up in your newsfeed as always, advertisers participating in the Sponsored Stories program will now be able to take your personal actions and post it in a Faceboook ad that runs in the right hand column of your friends’ pages.
On the plus side, these ads will only be shown to your friends, so while they call attention to your product preferences, they don’t use your words or actions as an endorsement to the general public. On the other hand, you can’t opt out of having your information repurposed in this way, a surprising decision given the public hypersensitivity to Facebook’s sometimes troubling privacy policies.